| By New York Tennis Magazine Staff


Professional tennis is returning to Long Island in a big way, and commencing the action will be the Opening Night Premiere on Sunday, February 11.

New York’s own John McEnroe, Honorary Ambassador for the New York Open, will help usher in the tournament with the Opening Night Premiere, where he will be joined by James Blake, 2017 U.S. Open Champion Sloane Stephens and Eugenie Bouchard.

“The New York Open will quickly become the winter classic for tennis fans and entertainment seekers in the New York area, and kicking off this first year with the likes of John, Sloane, Genie, and James is a tremendous start,” said Tournament Director Josh Ripple. “Having men and women play together to celebrate our opening will be great fun for the fans, and we are excited to bring back champions that the New York market will want to see.”

Stephens, 24, has won five singles titles, including her first Grand Slam title at the 2017 US Open. With the victory, she became the lowest ranked player, at No. 83, to win the women’s singles title and the first American woman aside from Serena and Venus Williams to win a Grand Slam singles title since Jennifer Capriati in 2002. Stephens also reached the semifinals of the 2013 Australian Open, defeating Serena Williams in the quarterfinals. She won her first title on tour at the 2015 Citi Open and holds a career high WTA singles ranking of No. 11.

“I love New York, and obviously have some amazing memories there,” said Stephens. “I’ve never been to the Coliseum before. It’ll be great for me, playing against my friend Genie, and I’m really looking forward to it. We grew up playing together at the same academy with the same coaches. We play doubles together, and I spent a lot of time with her, but like any other match, I’ll just go out there and compete and try to play my best.”

McEnroe holds four US Open and three Wimbledon singles titles, as well as five Davis Cup titles. He also won nine grand slam doubles titles and one mixed doubles title, and was the top ranked player in the world from 1981 through 1984. McEnroe was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1999.

Bouchard, 23, was the first Canadian tennis player to reach the finals of a Grand Slam in singles at the 2014 Wimbledon Championships. She also reached the semifinals of the 2014 Australian Open and French Open, and in 2012, she won the Wimbledon juniors title.

Blake ended his 14-year ATP career with 10 singles titles and he reached a career-high ranking of No. 4 at the 2013 US Open. Blake helped the U.S. Davis Cup team win the 2007 title, which was the first win for a US team since 1995. He is currently Chairman of the USTA Foundation in which he plays a significant role in helping people enjoy the game of tennis.

McEnroe will take on Blake in an exhibition, followed by Stephens playing Bouchard in eight-game pro sets. Afterwards, the four will compete in a mixed-doubles match.

For ticket information, visit www.newyorkopen.com/tickets.